Broadway Production of The Audience, With Helen Mirren, Will Feature Different Ending Than Original London Staging

News   Broadway Production of The Audience, With Helen Mirren, Will Feature Different Ending Than Original London Staging
 
The Broadway production of The Audience, Peter Morgan's play about Queen Elizabeth II, with Helen Mirren starring as the monarch, will feature a different ending than the original London production, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren Photo by Johan Persson

Two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, An Inspector Calls), who will direct the production, told the Times that Morgan had rewritten the ending of the play. 

"Peter will always be re-writing! For Broadway, it will be essential. The end will have to change quite radically to reflect the exact moment in current events," he told the LA Times.

The Audience's move to Broadway follows a record-breaking run at London's Gielgud Theatre in 2013 for which Mirren won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Play. A new version of the play will be presented in London, at the West End's Apollo Theatre, with Kristin Scott Thomas playing Queen Elizabeth II.

Morgan is also the screenwriter of the Academy Award-nominated 2006 film "The Queen," which earned Mirren an Oscar for her performance.

Broadway previews will begin Feb. 17, 2015, prior to an official opening March 8. The limited engagement will run through June 28 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. "For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said, not even to their spouses," press notes state. "The Audience imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister uses these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional — sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive. In turn, the Queen can't help but reveal her own self as she advises, consoles and, on occasion, teases. These private audiences chart the arc of the second Elizabethan Age, from the beginning of Elizabeth II's reign to today. Politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, while she remains constant, waiting to welcome her next Prime Minister." 

Mirren won the Academy Award for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in "The Queen," as well as the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and BAFTA Award for Best Actress. She received Academy Award nominations for "The Last Station," "Gosford Park" and "The Madness of King George." Mirren is a two-time Tony Award nominee for A Month in the Country and Dance of Death. She has also appeared onstage in the West End, the Fringe, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre in Orpheus Descending, Mourning Becomes Electra and Phèdre, among others. In 2014 she was honored with the BAFTA Fellowship for her outstanding career in film. 

The cast will also include Geoffrey Beevers, Michael Elwyn, Richard McCabe and Rufus Wright, members of the original London cast, as Prime Ministers who meet with Queen Elizabeth II.

Beevers (The Comedy of Errors, "Victor/Victoria") will play the Queen's equerry, the officer in the royal household who attends or assists the royal family. Elwyn ("EastEnders," Rope) will play Anthony Eden (PM 1955-57), who is widely regarded as one of the least successful British Prime Ministers of the 20th century as a result of his foreign policy during the Suez crisis. Richard McCabe ("The Constant Gardener"; Yes, Prime Minister) plays Harold Wilson (PM 1964-70 and 1974-76), who served as Prime Minister during the "Swinging Sixties" and is remembered for the liberalization of laws on censorship, divorce, homosexuality, immigration, abortion and the abolition of capital punishment. Wright (The 39 Steps, Frost/Nixon) is cast as David Cameron, the current Prime Minister, who is the youngest person to hold the office in 200 years.

The rest of the 18-member company, including five more Prime Ministers, will be announced at a later date.

The production is designed by six-time Tony Award winner Bob Crowley with lighting by two-time Tony Award winner Rick Fisher, sound by Tony Award winner Paul Arditti and music by Paul Englishby.

The Audience is produced by Matthew Byam Shaw for Playful Productions, Robert Fox and Andy Harries.

The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre is located at 236 West 45th Street. Visit theaudiencebroadway.com for more information.

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